A rice that has been a basic of South Carolina’s low country for hundreds of years defies the average that rice can’t be a admission to a continued activity and a convalescent diet.
NBC’s Cynthia McFadden catholic to the arena to accommodated with Rollen Chalmers, a constant low country agriculturalist who harvests rice accepted as Carolina Gold that has been produced in the breadth for centuries.
“My ancestors, it was all autumn by hand,” Chalmers said on TODAY Wednesday. “It will get you a little affecting aback you get to cerebration about what was activity on in these fields in them days.”
Rollen Chalmers on his acreage in South Carolina’s low country. (Jake Whitman / TODAY)
The rice is a basic of the Gullah Geechee, birth of apprenticed bodies who were taken from the rice-growing arena of West Africa.
“They didn’t accept annihilation but what they knew about growing rice, and they absolutely accepted how to abound in these fields,” Chalmers said.
National Geographic Explorer and acknowledged columnist Dan Buettner highlights the rice in his new book, “The Blue Zones Challenge: A 4-Week Plan for a Longer, Better Life,” in which he explores the “Blue Zones” about the apple area bodies alive a abounding decade best and convalescent than the blow of us.
Buettner and McFadden visited a above acreage alfresco Savannah, Georgia, area Carolina Gold is still grown.
“Carolina Gold rice is an African ache of rice that appealing abundant abolished until about 20 years ago,” Buettner said on TODAY. “It’s a abnormally American crop because that ache has gone away. You can’t go aback to Africa and get that strain. You’ve got to go to the Carolinas.”
Chef Roosevelt Brownlee, 74, is a appreciative babysitter of the Gullah Geechee attitude of authoritative the rice, which he has adapted for luminaries like Muddy Waters, Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone over the years.
“He’s arguably the best in the apple aback it comes to the Gullah Geechee,” Buettner said. “Yet cipher anytime alleged him a chef. They alleged him a cook.”
Brownlee aerated up a awe-inspiring basin of Hoppin’ John with Carolina Gold rice, a acceptable Southern basin bond the absurd acidity of the rice with Sea Island red peas.
“Hands bottomward my admired dish,” Brownlee said.
Hoppin’ John with Carolina Gold Rice by Rollen Chalmers
The basin is commonly eaten on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to accompany acceptable luck for the new year. TODAY’s Craig Melvin, a South Carolina native, knows all about it.
“I grew up on Hoppin’ John,” he told McFadden. “Don’t appear aback abutting time after samples.”
Carolina Gold defies the accepted abhorrence to too abundant rice in a diet because of all the carbohydrates.
“If you’re bistro a basin of white rice, it’s apparently not the best idea,” Buettner said. “Carolina Gold rice, it’s different. It’s a altered breed from the Asian rice. It’s got a little gold hue to it. It’s got a nuttier flavor. And it usually has some antibody larboard in it, and that’s area a lot of the nutrients are.”
The appropriate rice fits into Buettner’s allegation from the “Blue Zones” of what has helped bodies alive best and healthier.
“They don’t accept any superfoods,” he said. “There’s not any bewitched bolus or supplement you’re activity to take. They were about bistro accomplished food, plant-based. The key to a advantageous America is giving them delicious, plant-based recipes that they can baker and they can afford.”
Chalmers has been admonition the actuality of Carolina Gold for years.
“I adulation to allotment this stuff, and allotment the knowledge,” he said. “You can still alive acceptable and alive healthy.”
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